“I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!”
— Psalm 27:13-14, NRSV; (Taizé chant partially based on this Scripture: https://youtu.be/s7GexIvX8HU)
We live in an impatient age. The conveniences afforded to us by technology—whether it be on-demand home deliveries or hailing a ride with a few taps on our smartphones—seemingly threaten to atrophy our ability to wait.
I suspect, however, that we have been as impatient as we have always been. We are no better and no worse at managing the uncertainty of waiting. Rather, it is the posture of our waiting that we must change: we must learn to wait actively, not passively.
When we wait passively, we not only expect instant gratification, but also 100% satisfaction. It is true that technology has made that possible in so many areas of our lives. But it has warped our expectations in so many other ways. Technology by itself cannot create the lives we believe we deserve. It will not mend the relationships we want to heal. We will ultimately be disappointed if we expect to wait passively and expect miracles to come to us.
Waiting actively is infinitely harder. It demands that we “be strong, and let [our] heart[s] take courage.” It requires daily cultivation of healthy habits. What we desire may not even turn out to be the result that happens, no matter how much effort and time we invest. But when the Lord comes, so to speak, a posture of active waiting will allow us to respond appropriately.
When I reread the Psalm quoted above, I was struck as never before by the psalmist’s conviction that the goodness of God is already with us, even when we may not see it yet. Even if we cannot know what is to come, our waiting will not preclude the kin-dom of God being formed here on Earth.
All we must do is to take courage and be strong.